Sketches of Summer IV
For context, read
Sketches of Summer I
Requested by Eliana.
“I want a gangster hamster.”
“A gangster hamster.”
“Do you mean an urban gangster or Al Capone gangster?”
Requested by Eliana.
It quickly becomes apparent who gets the rules of the game and who doesn’t. Sometimes, the rules slide by unnoticed, my rebukes met with quizzical head tilting that reminds me that dogs are said to be as intelligent as the average 5 year-old. By proxy, this means that there exist above and below average 5 year-olds. It’s simply unrealistic for me to expect every kindergartener to get it. In fact, not all the 3rd and 4th graders got it.
The ones that do, however, never cease to amaze me.
Eliana was going into fourth grade and she would pester me incessantly with new ideas. Where other kids would usually ask for small variations, Eliana’s imagination flew from one end of the spectrum to the other. When I saw her coming, I was always excited to hear what she wanted.
Eliana wasn’t the only one. Mak, Emilie, Gav, and Marissa all figured out how to challenge me and get the best drawings from me.
With the younger kids, it wasn’t as easy. Galen, for instance, asked for interesting things, but only by mashing other things together. It was a brute force method of creativity: effective but not elegant. Of course, I was blown away by how inelegant my old homework looks now.
Requested by Galen.
Galen’s best friend Adlee loved pandas. Galen’s new friend Chad was into skateboarding. Galen loved pictures of Zombies. With their powers combined, I ended up with a strangely wheeled skateboarding zombie bear with a Game of Thrones quote thrown in for good measure.
Most requests came in like that. Kid A requests a unicorn. Kid B requests a zombie (after I tell them I won’t draw another unicorn). Et voilà, kid C requests a zombie unicorn.
But the clever requests were the best ones: pizza with glasses eating a donut; a snake band; a mouse who doesn’t like cheese (how can you tell?); an evil birthday cake; a buffalo riding chimp eating a banana; night of the living gumballs; a marshmallow in a bikini; a British soldier who never moves in Day of the Dead makeup; ninja kitten; a princess horse in a carriage being pulled by a man; a penguin setting off fireworks.
Midway through the summer, I started keeping the list in a little notebook. On average, I documented drawing around 8-10 pictures a day. While I’d output about 45-50 pictures each week (and there were plenty I forgot to list after I started keeping the list), I seemed to be doing it for only about 30-35 kids each week. I tried to prioritize kids who hadn’t had pictures yet that week, but with the way kids would come and go, it was pretty clear that at a certain point in the day, when only the last stragglers remained, it was much easier to throw requests at me and have them fulfilled in a timely fashion.
I like to think that I trained the kids to game me and the system I had put in place, but I can hardly take credit for getting the kids to use what they already had. After all, I was using their imagination to get my creativity fix.